In this Guide, I've collected together all the resources you need to plan your trip to Vancouver, BC and organized them in five simple steps.
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Step 1: Make Sure You Have the Correct Travel Documents
If you're a Canadian traveling within Canada, you can skip this step. But for anyone else--including Americans traveling from the U.S. by car--you must have the correct travel documents to enter Canada. All air travel to Canada requires a valid passport, and some countries have visa requirements for entry to Canada.
- Required Travel Documents & Customs Information for all Travelers (includes information on bringing pets, too)
- What You Can & Can't Bring Into Canada
- Traveling by Car: Crossing the US / Canada Border
It's also helpful to know a little about Canada and Vancouver before your visit:
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Step 2: Pick Your Travel Dates
Summer is typically high travel season in Vancouver; hotel rates and flights will be more expensive at this time of year. But the extra cost does assure you of better weather (generally speaking, August is the least rainy month). That said, there's always something amazing happening in Vancouver--from fall foliage to winter snow sports to springtime whale watching.
Use these Seasonal Guides to get a taste of what to expect in Vancouver throughout the year:
- Summer in Vancouver - June, July, August
- Fall in Vancouver - September, October, November
- Winter in Vancouver - December, January, February
- Spring in Vancouver - March, April, May
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Step 3: Book Your Flight
If you are flying into Vancouver, there are several tricks for finding cheap(er) airfares. You can compare flights into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) with flights into nearby airports, including Bellingham, WA and Abbotsford, BC. According to Flight Network data--Canada's largest online travel agency--you should book your flight 35 days before your departure date for the best deals.
- More expert tips: How to Find Cheap Flights to Vancouver, BC
Want a nonstop flight to Vancouver?
If you do fly into Vancouver International Airport, use this Guide:
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Step 4: Choose Your Accommodations
Vancouver has a lot of options when it comes to accommodations. There are luxury hotels, romantic hotels, budget hotels, hostels, and AirBnB rentals (including apartments and houses). Use these Guides to find the perfect accommodations for your next trip:
Continue to 5 of 5 below.
- Why You Should Stay in Downtown Vancouver
- Top 10 Hotels in Downtown Vancouver - includes options for every budget, from high-end to hostels
- Top 10 Family Hotels in Vancouver
- Top 5 Romantic Hotels in Vancouver
- Best LGBTQ & Gay-Friendly Hotels in Vancouver
- Cheapest Places to Stay in Vancouver (That are Fun, Safe & Family-Friendly)
- Best Dog-Friendly Hotels in Vancouver
- Best Bed and Breakfasts in Vancouver
- How to Use AirBnB for Vancouver, BC
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Step 5: Plan Your Itinerary
You don't need to plan out everything you want to do before you arrive, but if you have a "must-do" list, it can make planning your trip to Vancouver easier. (For a gigantic list of things to do and see, check out the Things to Do and Vancouver Outdoors sections of this site.)
These Guides will give you a starting point for your itinerary:
- Vancouver's Top 10 Attractions
- Vancouver's Top 10 Free Things to Do
- Vancouver Outdoor Adventures - everything from hiking, biking, and kayaking to snow sports
- Top 10 Places to Shop in Vancouver
- Top 10 Iconic Vancouver Restaurants
- Vancouver Nightlife Guide
- Day Trips near Vancouver
On a budget? Budget Travel in Vancouver: 7 Ways to Save Money & Still Have a Great Time
See also: Before You Rent a Car in Vancouver, Read This!